Scoring a single goal is the current predicament of the islanders who feel the mark of progress.
Following Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Rangers, here is the situation for the downtown residents of the metropolitan area:
They have scored three goals in three games at UBS Arena, with Andy Andreff breaking a dry spell at 3:32 in the third period on Wednesday. The player who leads the team in goals – Brock Nelson – is on IR for the next three to five weeks. The Islanders finished Wednesday’s game with six power-play chances, but they were unable to score on Man-Advantage, bringing their November total to 1-for-27.
“We need a special teams goal, a power-play goal, a five-on-five equalizer,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We need those moments after you score a goal. We can’t score them in the next leg.”
That problem is not new, but it added something familiar: the seventh straight loss. All of them came from three or more goals.
Argue what you want with the seven islanders in the COVID-19 protocol. Don’t be afraid of stances. Islanders 5-9-2. And it was top-line players – not call-ups – who demanded more production from Trotz Wednesday.
“We have some guys that are dry and we’re going to 15, 16 games,” Trotz said. “It’s hard to win hockey games when we are a little bit off. I think everybody knows that. And so you need people to find ways to produce. We ask them to be very responsible and take care of the puck on both sides, but we need some production.
That’s a reference to Kyle Palmieri (one goal), Zach Paris (zero goals) and the Identity Line (two combined goals – both Casey Sijikas).
“It’s tough,” Cizikas said when asked about the offensive struggles. “We are working. We work hard, we try to get into those places. We’re trying to get those rebounds and they’re not falling for us right now. I think the frustrating thing is that the boys are working, the boys are trying.
The Islanders’ current problems are not limited to scoring or even an on-ice game. But their tragic start to the season now poses a serious threat to their playoff chances. It’s going to be an uphill battle and there’s still a long way to go before the roster is complete again.
So, some goals help.
“We’re staying positive,” said Sebastian Aho. “We know what we can do.”
But the islanders are running out of time to do it.